Ardmore’s Marine Personnel Manager, Celia Kang, sits down with Chief Engineer, Vitali Medvedev, to discuss his personal experience as part of the Ardmore Shipping team, and his career progression spanning four decades – from the late 70’s to 2022.
Why did you choose a career in seafaring?
The capital of Estonia is the port city of Tallinn, a maritime hub and the biggest port city in Estonia. In my youth, I met many cadets from the Estonian Maritime College and decided that I wanted to be part of this team. The potential for travel to other countries played a large role in choosing my future profession.
What can you remember from your first trip as an engineering cadet?
In 1979, during my fourth year at the Estonian Maritime College, we worked for a Latvian shipping company to gain experience. I was assigned to “Kaunas” – an old tanker that formed part of the Latvian fleet. In the engine room, there were two main engines operating through a gearbox to one propeller shaft with a simple ‘telephone booth’ as the official engine control room. I guess you could say I had my first real professional experience onboard the “Kaunas”.
Describe how your career progressed to 2nd Engineer.
Graduating from the Estonian Maritime College with a degree in the Operation of Ship Automated Control Systems, I then entered the Leningrad Higher Maritime University in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. I transferred for further education into the Estonian Maritime Academy and after graduating, worked at the Estonian Shipping Company. I filled the positions of 4th, 3rd and then 2nd Engineer on Container, Ro-Ro, General Cargo, and Bulk Cargo vessels. In 2002, I started working for a company called TESMA – an asset management company as a 3rd Engineer on their fleet of tankers, because of the company policy to sail one rank lower than your certificate. But by 2003, I was promoted back to the position of 2nd Engineer.
What is the biggest change you have seen on board since you first went to sea?
The development of modern engineering and communication technologies has accelerated considerably over recent years, and it’s been very interesting to see how this has affected the greater industry, but also the day-to-day experience onboard vessels. Day to day work has changed, and I expect it will continue to do so. With the progress of digital technologies, future engineers will work more on computers and need to understand how to interpret data and future fuel type technology. With the energy transition underway, no doubt engineering roles will change to also require deeper understanding of alternative energy sources.
What has been your most difficult experience?
Having a diesel generator out of commission through a serious failure is one example of a difficulty I have experienced and overcome. The knowledge I’ve gained through my education, training and experience as a Chief Engineer enables me to manage unexpected and difficult situations.
How does sailing with Ardmore Shipping differ from other shipping companies?
At Ardmore, the owners of the company are personally involved in the daily life onboard our tanker vessels. This is no doubt what sets Ardmore Shipping apart from the rest.
What is something interesting or unexpected about yourself that we might not know.
There is a particularly interesting moment that our family will never forget! While my wife was pregnant with our second child, I was working in a repair yard dry dock in the Port of Locks – not far from Tallinn. My wife ‘agreed’ to wait for my return home on the 3rd April before having the baby, but on 1st April, I received a notification through the radio that she had given birth. Since it was April Fool’s Day, I didn’t believe it. But, it was true!
For more information on working onboard Ardmore vessels, please click here.